Trainer Robert Heathcote has confirmed that popular sprinter Buffering will start his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
Buffering has not been seen at the races since he finished a brave third behind Spirit Of Boom and Temple Of Boom in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 24 and he has returned to the Heathcote stable to begin trackwork ahead of his spring campaign.
Heathcote told Racing Ahead this morning that he was happy with the condition of Buffering and he revealed that the son of Mossman would resume in the Moir Stakes before defending his titles in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.
“He has been back in the stable for a couple of weeks and I am delighted to say that he looks in fantastic order,” Heathcote said.
“He looks good, he doesn’t have a bit pot belly and he is lovely and health in the coat.
“Hopefully we are on target for another big spring.
“He is going to be kicking off in the Moir Stakes and then four weeks into the Manikato and the VRC Sprint (now known as The Darley Classic).
“I am under no illusions, it is going to be an enormous task particularly with the world’s best sprinter at the moment, Lankan Rupee awaiting us.
“If I can have Buffering in the best condition as I can than we certainly know that he can be competitive.
“I’m confident that with a good spell he can bounce back.”
Heathcote revealed in June that a trip to Hong Kong for the International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December was on the agenda for Buffering and the leading Queensland trainer said that a maiden international trip was still planned for the seven-year-old at the end of his spring preparation.
“It is an opportunity,” Heathcote said of the Hong Kong International Sprint.
“It is something that I wanted to do two years ago and he went off the boil when he was given his vaccinations and last year we elected to go to Perth where he won the Winterbottom.
“This year he has already had his primary course of inoculations while he was out spelling and just has to have a touch-up boost before he goes.
“That will be after the final race and hopefully we can combat that problem that occurred a few years ago.”
Buffering will have the opportunity to make history by becoming the first horse to win both the Manikato Stakes and Darley Classic in back-to-back years.